NAUGATUCK — The defending Naugatuck Valley League outdoor track champions looked every bit the part Tuesday afternoon in a key early-season dual meet.
The Woodland boys and girls both comfortably outpaced Naugatuck in the first track meet held at the borough’s new facility. The Hawks boys took a 95-55 victory over the ‘Hounds while the Woodland girls earned a 97-53 win.
The Hawks won the opening two relays on each side of the competition and never looked back. Woodland won five of the six relays on the day, including a clean sweep by the girls.
Several Hawks took part in at least three victories Tuesday between relays and individual events.
Mike Lang, the State Open long jump champion from the indoor season, took home four wins at the meet. He won the 110-meter hurdles (16 seconds), the long jump (20 feet, 7 inches), the triple jump (39-11) and the high jump (5-8) to pace the Woodland boys.
Another standout on the boys side was Jack Pinho, who claimed a pair of individual victories with a relay win. Pinho anchored the 4-by-800 relay team to a meet-opening win before taking the 800 meters (2:06) and the 1,600 (4:31). He held off All-NVL distance runner Dan Schumacher in both events.
“Jack is quite the competitor,” Woodland boys coach Tim Shea said. “He doesn’t look like much, but if you can put his heart and refusal to quit in a lot of people — that speaks for itself. He comes to run every week, works real hard and is setting a good example for the younger kids. He also seems to do well here (at Naugatuck).”
Levi Fancher stood out in the throws for the Hawks as he won the javelin (162-10) and shot put (51-0), while teammate Alik Bures claimed the discus (104-10). Shane Classey helped Woodland sweep the field events with a win in the pole vault (10-6).
Other winners for the Woodland boys included James Giacomazzi in the 300 hurdles (44.6 seconds), Sean McAllen in the 200 meters (22.8 seconds) and the 4-by-100 relay, and relay runners Jimmy Jensen, Dean Conway, Jeff Giusto, Jason Rodrigues, Tyler Collodel and Taylor Tucciarone.
“The boys are a pleasant surprise in a lot of areas,” Shea said. “They’ve accepted the target on their backs, and every week there’s something new. You have to be on every week in the NVL.”
Kevin Johnson was among the standouts for the Naugatuck boys. He won the 400 meters in 53.5 seconds and helped the 4-by-400 relay team to a meet-ending win in 3:42. Johnson was joined by Adam Branco, Mark Zamani and Benjamin Reinhard in that relay.
“Kevin Johnson did a nice job for us,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “He brings a lot of positives to the team with good leadership.”
Ricky DeJesus also earned a win in the 100 meters (11.06 seconds). Schumacher took the 3,200 meters (10:10), and Branco added a lift to the team after errors in early events.
“Especially when we had some snafus in various events, we had guys who helped get our heads back in the game,” Roper said. “Adam Branco is a big-time player. We can put him in and he’s going to make something happen.”
On the girls side, Woodland’s Jazmyn Menzies, Ashley Michie and Clara Drozdowski all took part in several event victories.
Menzies won the long jump (16-6) and helped the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relay teams to wins, while Michie joined those two relays and won the 100 meters (12.8 seconds) and 200 meters (27.25 seconds). Drozdowski anchored the 4-by-800 team to a win before winning the 800 meters (2:33) and 3,200 meters (12:36).
“We knew this would be a difficult meet,” Woodland girls coach Jeff Lownds said. “This is a very good team, and we knew it was the first meet on this new track so (Naugatuck was) going to be pumped up. We responded very well.”
Emma Poryanda won the pole vault (7-6), Abbey Rosato took the shot put (27-6), Audra Blewitt won the triple jump (30-6) and Erika Tyrrell won the discus (81-11) for Woodland. Relay winners included Ava Capuano, Val Vinca, Haleigh Resnick, Marisa Macek and Lisa Thrasher.
“We had a lot from everybody,” Lownds said. “It was a team effort today. It wasn’t just winning events; it was coming in second or third, and those places add up.”
Carla Soares was Naugy’s standout on the girls side with what Roper called “good performances” in the 100 hurdles (17.7 seconds) and 300 hurdles (50.8 seconds). Jasmine Grey won the 400 meters (1:02.4), Abreana McKoy took the high jump (5-0) and Christina Batista won the javelin (82-10).
The Naugatuck boys are 1-3 and the girls are 2-2 through two meets. Roper said he sees progress with his squad.
The Greyhounds will host Kennedy, St. Paul Catholic and Sacred Heart Tuesday.
“We have a lot of young kids into the program,” Roper said. “We have a lot more football players participating, so that’s helping in the throwing and speed departments. It’s all a work in progress, but it’s all good. By the time the big meets come around, I think we’ll be in a good position.”
Both Woodland squads are 6-0 with a crucial meet upcoming Wednesday at Watertown to face the Indians and Wolcott.
“We’re jumping from frying pans into fryers and then onto the charcoal grill,” Lownds said of the Hawks’ challenging opening schedule. “But with our staff, from me, Tim Shea, Adam Schultz and Josh Woodin, we’re taking it one week at a time.”